Vasconcelos Library

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Vasconcelos Library
Photo: Omar_sansi on Wikimedia Commons

Kalach’s Celebrated Hanging Gardens

The Vaconcelos Library, (Biblioteca Vasconcelos), for its unique design and inviting interior has almost immediately became one of the city’s most emblematic and photographed public buildings. Few other libraries in the city have grown into cultural destinations on quite this scale.

Designed by the architect Alberto Kalach, (FARO de Oriente), the library opened only in 2006.

With a collection of over 600,000 volumes, it’s most famous for the hanging steel shelves that seem to stretch back into a mirrored eternity. These make up the complicated surrounding for the striking work of artist Gabriel Orozco, below.

Orozcos whale sculpture
Gabriel Orozco’s Mátrix Móvil may be the city’s most photographed sculpture in the most photographed interior. Photo: Gwolf on Wikimedia Commons


The Vasconcelos Library is adjacent to the Buenavista train station and shopping center, and alongside the famous el Chopo Saturday cultural street market.

With gardens, a greenhouse and bookstore, it’s also a major example of ecologically sensitive architecture, lit almost entirely by natural outdoor light. The building is designed to permit the even entry of light while avoiding damage to the books.

It’s designed to expand to eventually hold up to 2 million books.

It can also welcome about 5,000 visitors every day.

The library is dedicated to the philosopher and educator, José Vasconcelos. Vasconcelos was president of the National Library of Mexico and an early 20th century advocate of reading.


Mexico City

Cultural Capital of the Americas